Yvonne Strahovski helps us process our complicated feelings toward her ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ character


“The Handmaid’s Tale” gives us a lot to process episode to episode and nowhere has that been more evident this season than in our conflicted feelings toward Serena Joy Waterford, a woman who helped create the patriarchal society of Gilead.

Lately, events have transpired to give Serena plenty of reasons to regret her role in forming Gilead, a place that has stripped her of her voice, her agency and — who knows — perhaps one day the child that her handmaid, Offred (Elisabeth Moss), is carrying.

Strahovski stopped by The Times recently for a video interview, during which she talked about the unexpected alliance that has developed this season between Serena and Offred.


“It’s such a roller coaster ride this season with their relationship,” Strahovski says. “There’s so much they respect about each other and actually appreciate in a weird way, but they can never cross that line to become true allies.”

Strahovski recalled a key scene when Serena proudly takes Offred into the nursery she has created for her (their?) unborn child. Serena intends it to be a bonding moment, but Offred uses the unexpected intimacy to ask permission to see her own daughter, Hannah, who was confiscated from her and is now living with another family in Gilead.

“I wanted that to be such a betrayal to Serena,” Strahovski says. “That’s the thing. They can never be friends in the way that they want each other to be friends. It’s very tumultuous.”

Elsewhere, Strahovski spoke about how Serena has pretty much had it with her abusive husband, Fred, and why Joseph Fiennes is so good at playing this spineless creep of a human being. (No conflicted feelings about him!) Also: What was it like to film those pre-Gilead college riot scenes? (“Pretty intense!”) You can watch the entire conversation below.


Twitter: @glennwhipp